USCIS has announced on Twitter that there was an 11% increase from FY 2019 in H-1B advanced degree petitions selected in the FY 2020 lottery.

This year, USCIS reversed the lottery selection process. Master’s cap petitions were first entered into the regular lottery and then those left over were entered into a master’s-cap-only lottery. USCIS had originally forecast a 16% increase.

USCIS spokesperson Jessica Collins said, “Our efforts to improve the H-1B program are working and increasing the number of U.S. advanced degree holders who are selected for the limited number of visas subject to the annual H-1B cap.”

Last year, according to reports, 56% of the master’s cap petitions were selected. This year, 63% were selected. The 11% increase may be due in part to the fact that the absolute number of petitions increased from 190,098 to 201,011 and the percentage of petitions filed on behalf of holders of advanced degree also increased. For those who filed regular H-1B cap cases, last year, 44% of the “regular” cap cases were accepted, but this year, that percentage is down to 37%.

Being selected in this year’s lottery is just the first hurdle. With request-for-evidence (RFE) rates rising to 60% during the first quarter of FY 2019, simply “winning” the lottery does not mean the case will be approved.